Ninja Gaiden started on Nintendo with 3 games. For a long time, the hero, Ryu Hayabusa went into hiding, and we'd thought we'd never hear from him again until last generation when Tecmo brought out Ninja Gaiden to the Xbox. Then he ported that game twice in the form of Ninja Gaiden Black and Ninja Gaiden Sigma. Later this year, Ninja Gaiden 2 will hit the Xbox 360. But before that is released, like a good Ninja, you need proper training, and the sub story inbetween the two games. This is where Ninja Gaiden Dragon Sword (DS) comes in. The story 6 months after the original game, and presumably another 6 months before Ninja Gaiden 2. While not quite as polished as the previous entry, Ninja Gaiden DS still provides a unique experience to the DS audience.You are constantly learning the gameplay in this game. You learn a lot of the basic moves early in the game, but you will still find some minor details through the game's halfway point. You also get different Ninpo to use. This is where the game's controls come in, by holding the DS like a book, you control entirely with the touch screen. By tapping the Ninpo icon, you perform the move where you have to trace the icon. You can switch these on the fly, so don't feel pressured to go into the menu to change them constatly. It's simple, just like the core mechanics of the game, which gets repetitive. Your main move will be swiping the stylus horizontally across the screen. This might not seem like a problem, but after a while, it's all you're doing because it's quick and easy.You have other techniques like an up swing which only seems to work in close range, and sometimes the game mistakes it for a jump. You have arrows and shurikens which work the same way, which you just tap the enemy you want to fire them at and they go. However, switching to arrows and back is a hassle as you have to use the menu. The controls are fine overall, but it could've used a few good tweaks to make it better.The game's music is something that is hardly invigorating, as they're the same tracks from the last Ninja Gaiden game although lower in quality. So, it lowers the great presentation value the game has. The story of Ninja Gaiden DS is told through anime style cutscenes which are fitting to the series. The same goes for the graphics and art style, which, although not as shiny as previous Ninja Gaiden games, make them look believable. However, the smooth framerate dips every now and again, and always in this one area in the Village. But it is not a major detractor of the game.Ninja Gaiden DS is a solid entry to the DS's already immense library. If you're a fan of action games, Ninja Gaiden or anime, you might want to pick this up, at least as a rental. It's a 20 hour epic that some might expect of Ninja Gaiden, but given its' easier difficulty, it might just leave a few of you wanting more.
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